When I was young, I was not a big fan of vegetables. And peas? Forget about it. Every time my mom served peas with dinner, I’d try to slip them underneath the table to our dog, Trippy. Needless to say, Trippy did not want anything to do with those little green balls either. So there I’d be, stuck at the table causing a dramatic scene as I held my nose and attempted to swallow each pea one by one, grimacing so hard you’d think I was in extreme psychical pain. Brat!
Now…I eat peas. And just about any vegetable really. I know I could stand to be a bit more experimental, but I’ve certainly come a long way. (Remember this tasty spaghetti squash + brussels sprouts meal?) Whenever I eat, I always think about how I can get veggies in. This really helps me make healthy choices when I’m at a restaurant because I have a plan that I can stick to: Fill up on a simple salad or vegetables first, then enjoy my meal (which I usually don’t finish). Sure, the fried calamari and crab cakes would be tasty appetizer choices, but I know that I just don’t need them. It rarely seems worth it. Starting a meal with something fresh and light sets a better tone for the rest of the meal, even if it is a cheeseburger. Pssst…Did you know that it only takes 500 calories of greens to fill up your entire stomach? I bet 500 calories worth of French fries or pizza wouldn’t come close!
I’m now in the practice of having veggies at every meal, even if it means just tossing a handful of baby spinach and cherry tomatoes into a pasta dish, or eating baby carrots with my 6″ Veggie Delight sub at lunch. Doing this helps add volume to the meal so I don’t feel like I need MORE pasta (or rice or whatever I’m eating). And munching on cut up veggies or a side salad during a meal is especially helpful for speed eaters like me because there’s something else on the plate to focus attention on.
And since I started this week on a smoothie kick, I thought I’d share another recipe. My friend Kateri (aka. the nicest, most smiley, positive person you could ever meet) was the first person to open my eyes to kale…in smoothie form. Here’s the recipe:
Kateri’s Kale-Cucumber Smoothie
-ICE (This is key, especially if you are new to green smoothies)
-Half cup water, half cup milk
-4-5 kale leaves
-Approx. 1 tsp of ginger
I usually drink fruit smoothies in the am, and occasionally I’ll have one of these for dinner on nights I get home late or just don’t feel like cooking. Remember, there are no rules with food—dinner doesn’t have to be hot, cheesy, creamy…or even solid!
And many nights I’ll make myself a veggie plate. Here we have sweet potato fries, balsamic squash, spinach salad and hummus-stuffed mushrooms. Mmm mmm.
Tell me: What are your favorite vegetables? Any you’ve been wanting to try? Acorn squash is on the top of my list!
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